Which is the best version of the Bible to use? I know you use the New American Standard Version. I’ve been told that the King James version is the only version one should use. Can you offer any guidance?Answer provided by Mike Scott, Minister of Mt. Vernon Church of Christ in Prescott, ArizonaBible Version DiscussedStandard Versions:King James Version (KJV)New American Standard Version (NASB)American Standard Version (ASV)Revised Standard Version (RSV)New International Version (NIV)New English Bible (NEB)Paraphrased VersionsThe Phillips TranslationToday’s English Version (TEV)The Living BibleThe MessageA. Yes, I use the NASB 1995 edition. There are several reasons I do so, and they will become apparent in the course of our consideration of the various versions available. Notes used here are taken from material supplied by Warren Wilcox, of Denver, Colorado. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information on ordering this material in tract form.Part 1: BIBLE IS INSPIRED WORD OF GODThe Bible is the complete, inspired word of God.2 Pet. 1:3“seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”2 Tim. 3:16-1716 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”John 12:48″He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.”John 14:10″Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.”John 17:8“for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me.”John 6:63″It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”John 8:47″He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.”Matt. 4:4“But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'”1 Cor. 2:12-1312 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, 13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.Eph 3:1-51 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles– 2 if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace which was given to me for you; 3 that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. 4 By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; I believe that the same God who could inspire His Word, and use man to convey it to man can and has providentially watched over the transmission of His Word through the centuries to insure that man is able to discern His will. This does require of us a certain amount of investigation to insure that we have found the most reliable version available.In my opinion, versions of the Bible can be divided into three categories. “Word for Word” translations, “Dynamic Equivalent” and “Paraphrases.”We need to understand that we do not have the original manuscripts on which Paul or Moses or the other Bible writers actually penned our Bible writings. We have copies of those manuscripts. Thousands of them. These copies have proven to be extremely accurate. According to the scholars who study all the manuscripts available, our New Testament is about 98% textually accurate and the other 2% which may be in question is verified very clearly somewhere else in the New Testament. Where there are difficulties they almost never happen in a doctrinal area. We can rest assured that the manuscripts we have are very accurate.This point is illustrated in Galatians 3:16:Gal. 3:16“Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ.” In this passage the apostle Paul quotes from a passage in the Old Testament that was, at the time he quoted from it over 1400 years old. Paul did not have the” original manuscript” to read or quote from, yet he makes an argument based on the difference between a plural and a singular. He said the promise that was made to Abraham was made to his “seed,” singular, not “seeds” plural. That seed, of course, is Christ. This is very important, for if that seed was not Christ, the basis of Christianity falls. Paul demonstrated for us that it is possible to use a “copy” of the original manuscripts to make a very specific and detailed argument. God providentially watched over the transmission of His Word through the centuries.The Dead Sea scrolls provide us with another illustration. Before their discovery, the oldest copies of the Old Testament dated to 1008 A.D. When the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered in 1948 we were able to determine that they had been placed in the the caves near Qumran around 100 B.C. When the book of Isaiah from the Dead Sea scrolls was compared to the scroll from 1008 A.D. there was virtually not difference in the text. This illustrates how God has watched over His Word.Jesus and the apostles used the Old Testament in their teaching and preaching. In fact, they most often quoted not from the original Hebrew text, but from a “translation” of the original Hebrew, the Greek version called the Septugiant. They put their stamp of approval on copies and translations. Therefore, we can trust the manuscripts we have today. The challenge comes in looking for a “version” which is true to the manuscripts available to us.And here is the problem we have. Most people cannot read the original Hebrew and Greek. Even though we have very accurate “copies” in Hebrew and Greek, unless you have spent years studying the original language, these manuscripts do you little good.We are therefore dependent upon translations.There are now dozens of English versions of the Bible. Which one will MOST accurately give us God’s Word today?Part 2: KING JAMES VERSIONWe will start with the King James Version. I would consider this version in the broad category of a “word-for-word” translation. It was originally translated in 1611 A.D. It was translated by a 48 man committee. These men were dependent primarily upon the Latin Vulgate, not the Greek or Hebrew manuscripts which were available to them. It is a very good version of the Bible and has been the standard by which all other versions have been judged for the last 390 years, but it is very difficult for people who speak English in the 20th century to understand. It is beautiful in its language, and therefore has been a favorite for many, many years. Some people have literally grown up with the King James Version, and therefore do not readily accept any other “style” of language as Scripture. It is not uncommon to hear older Bible believing people talk and pray in “King James language.”The KJV has an excellent readable style for those who are familiar with it. However, it is often very difficult to determine the meaning of a passage because of the sentence structure and the words used. I have heard people in Bible classes debate the meaning of a single word in the KJV for an entire class period. If you are trying to help a new comer understand the Word of God it is almost impossible to help them see the meaning of a passage in the KJV. Some people will read it again and again and never see the point.To it’s credit, the KJV has served as the standard for the English speaking world for almost 390 years, and it is to this day the number one seller as far as English versions are concerned.The KJV of today is really much different from the 1611 translation. I don’t know of a soul who could read and understand the 1611 version. What is the basis of the KJV today is actually a revision which was produced in 1769 in which over 75,000 changes were made to the first edition.The greatest weakness of the KJV is that it was based primarily upon the Latin Vulgate and a relatively small number of Greek texts for the New Testament. Since the time of the translation of the KJV over 5,000 Greek and Hebrew manuscripts have been discovered which shed further light on what was found in the original text. Originally the KJV included the Catholic apocryphal book, but they were removed in 1629. There are over 1000 words in the KJV that are either not used in the English language in the 20th century, or have totally changed their meanings.A simple example is the term “Holy Ghost.” The Greek Word is “Spirit.” But in 1611 the concept of spirit was best conveyed by the term “ghost.” The word “Baptism” is another example. The Greek word for “baptism” should be translated “immersion.” In 1611 the practice was “sprinkling.” Therefore, the Greek word was “transliterated” and a new word added to the English language. What does “baptism” mean? Anything you want it to mean. What did it mean in the first century?Immersion!The KJV was also influenced by theological thinking of the day. An example of this is found in Hebrews 6:6-8 here the KJV says:Hebrews 6:6-8 KING JAMES VERSION6* If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. 7* For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: 8* But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.Here is how the NASB’95 edition translates the same passage:Hebrews 6:6-8 NEW AMERICAN STANDARD ‘95 edition 6* and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. 7* For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; 8* but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.Can you see the subtle difference? The Bible teaches that it is possible for a person who becomes a Christian to fall away from grace, but the King James translators did not believe that. They translate verse six “if they fall away,” as though no one had. The Greek manuscripts actually say, “having fallen away” which shows there were some who had been true Christians but had fallen away. There are a number of passages which prove that it is possible to fall away (for instance James 5:19-20; Galatians 5:4; 6:1).In Acts 12:4 the KJV translates the word for “Passover” as “Easter.” There was no such thing as Easter in the first century. Church history reveals that Easter as a religious celebration was unknown in the church of over 600 years, but the KJV translators believed in Easter, and since it comes at the same time of the year as the Jewish Passover, they just added it to the text rather than the word “Passover” which is what all Greek manuscripts have in Acts 12:4.Another misconception for which the KJV is responsible is the confusion between “Hell” and “Hades” in the New Testament. In Acts 2:27 the apostle Peter quotes from an Old Testament passage which has to do with the Messiah, stating that his soul would not be left in the state of the dead. The Greek word for this is “Hades.” The KJV translates this: “you will not leave my soul in hell.” Jesus did not go to hell. He went to hades, which means the state of the dead and that is the Greek word that is used in the context. It should have never been translated “hell.”In Acts 2:17 the KJV translates “to make propitiation for” as “to make reconciliation for” the sins of the people. Sins are never reconciled–people are reconciled to God. It is impossible for sins to be made friends again, which is what “reconciliation” means. There are numerous other examples, but we should note that the KJV is basically a good, usable version but was subject to error in a few places just like other translations. We should be reminded that all translations have problems in certain areas. There is no such thing as a “perfect” translation.Part 3: NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLEThe NASB was translated by 58 men, all of whom were conservatives. By “conservative” I mean that these were men who believed completely in the infallibility of the word of God, in its complete inspiration word for word by God, and in God as the creator of the world and in Jesus as His only begotten Son, in the virgin conception, in the resurrection of the dead, in heaven and hell, and in judgment.There are versions of the Bible, believe it or not, which have been translated by “modernists” or those considered “liberal” in their theology. A “modernist” is one who does not believe in the infallibility of the word of God, or in Jesus as God’s only begotten son, or in the virgin birth. It is important to know something about the background of the translators to understand why they would translate certain words or passages in a certain way.The NASB translators were all conservatives. The NASB New Testament was translated in 1960, and the Old Testament was translated in 1971. It is true to the original languages, it is grammatically correct, understandable to all, and gives the Lord Jesus his proper place which the Word gives him. It has taken considerable pains to footnote literal renderings in the margin. It has, for example, in Matthew 16:18 the literal rendering of “upon this rock I will build my church.” Jesus did not say that He would build his church on Peter. It gives an explanation, but does not place it in the text. It is a dignified translation. It does not use slang words. It does not use things that would make you ashamed to use it in a worship service or devotional setting, unlike some of the paraphrase versions. It renders the Greek verb tenses the most accurate of any modern translations. It is easy to read. It is true to the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts. It has gone through several revisions since 1960 to enhance its accuracy. The latest revision, the 1995 edition, or the “updated” edition is the latest, and probably the most accurate version of the Bible in modern available today.AMERICAN STANDARD VERSIONThe ASV was translated by 100 men in 1901 who came from many different religious backgrounds. They were not all religiously conservative nor were they all modernists. They had access to all the major versions that had preceded them and also had many older manuscripts to consider in their translation. It is an extremely accurate version. The ASV tried to be just as consistent as they possibly could be in translating the same Greek word with the same English word each time it appeared in the original text. Because it attempted to be a “word-for-word” translation it does not read as smoothly as some translations. To translate Greek or Hebrew into English word for word produces a very rough kind of translation. The ASV translators did this on purpose. They wanted to stay just as accurately as they could to the Greek even though we do not speak in exactly the same phraseology and in the same speech patterns as did the Greeks of the first century. This makes it more difficult to read but assures us of a closer wording to the original manuscripts than other types of translations. It’s only weakness is that since 1901 we have considerably more information concerning manuscripts, texts, archaeology, and biblical geography that was available in 1901. We have also learned a great deal about the “syntax” and “idioms” of the Koni Greek language of the first century.REVISED STANDARD VERSIONThe RSV was translated by 15 men, nine of whom were modernists or liberals to one degree or another. All were language scholars, but when a man is a liberal his belief will affect the way he translates certain words or concepts. The New Testament was translated in 1946, the Old Testament was completed in 1952. The RSV had an advantage over the KJV and the ASV in that the translators had the Dead Sea Scrolls to compare with other manuscripts. The RSV has great readability. It successfully removed the old language and obsolete words found in the KJV. It also attempted to remove some of the non-English Semitic speech. The Hebrew people spoke in ways that we do not today. For example, in the Hebrew we have the phrase, “and it came to pass.” Omitting this phrase in English makes it more readable and understandable, but many times it means leaving out whole phrases from the inspired Word of God. The RSV has been revised several times since 1946, in fact the committee tries to revise it once every ten years.There are some glaring weakness of the RSV. For example, the RSV does not use italics to indicate words which are not found in the original language. Without italics you can not tell which words were actually there in the inspired word, or which words were added in the process of translation. The RSV has some inaccurate readings. In Romans 11:20 they have added the word “only” to “faith.” This causes the translation to appear to teach salvation by faith only, which is grievous error. There is only one place in the Greek stament that uses the phrase “faith only” (James 2:24), and there it is condemned.Another problem I see is the word “immorality” is often used as a synonym for fornication. This is misleading since fornication is not the only kind of immorality. Any unethical conduct between humans is immorality; there is more to immorality than just sexual immorality.In Matthew 19:28 the RSV translates the word “regeneration,” as “new world. This teaches the false concept of Premillennialism. The Greek does not teach this concept. This is an interpretation, not a translation of what the original says.Part 4: Inspiration Defined(all Scripture from the NASB)2 Tim.3:16 – 17 – “ All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”Did you know: That the Bible is the most purchased and least read book in America? *That the front page of the average newspaper has 3,000 words, that’s equal to the same space utilized by the 24 shortest books of the Bible? *During the time it takes you to read 10 pages of your newspaper you can read the 40,000 words of all 150Psalms? *That the entire Bible can be read in 80 hours?WHAT DOES THE BIBLE MEAN BY INSPIRATION? The Greek word comes from two words meaning lit. “God Breathed.” It’s a miracle!1 Cor 2:11 “For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit ofGod.” – (See context of 1 Cor. 2:10-16).We don’t know what’s on someone else’s mind, how can we expect to know what’s on God’s mind? God had to reveal his will to us, not just the thoughts he wanted, but the actual words he wanted.2 Sam 23:2 “The Spirit of the LORD spoke by me, And His word was on my tongue.”(David)This principle applies to all the Biblical writers. The very words we find in our Bibles are the words of God. Therefore, every word is of tremendous importance. 1Cor 14:37 “If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord’s commandment.”These things were not made up by man, as Paul affirms:Gal 1:11-12 “For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.”Eph 3:4-5 “And by referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit;”When I read his will, I can understand it, and know that it is inspired 2 Pet 1:20 “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”It is not man’s invention, God’s Spirit used men to reveal it. And since it is God’s word, we will have evidence of it’s inspiration. 2 Pet 1:16 “For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.”We have many evidences of the inspiration of the Scriptures: Proverbs 8:27 – Solomon wrote about 1000 B.C.: “He set a circle upon the face of the deep.” Quite a thought for his time. It was not until the 16th century that man discovered the truth of Solomon’s statement.Leviticus 17:14 – Tells us that life is in the blood. George Washington was bled to death by his doctors. We have evidences of the Bibles’ historical accuracy:The Bible foretold the specifics of Jesus death:Psalm 41:9 – His betrayal for 30 pieces of silverPsalm 69:21 – They gave him gall and vinegarPsalm 22:16 – They crucified HimIsaiah 53:8 – He was put between two thievesPsalm 22:17 – They cast lots for his clothesPsalm 34:20 – A bone of Him should not be brokenHOW COULD THESE THINGS BE SO?In Daniel 2 we have another prophecy that reflects historical accuracy. The Prophecy states that 4 nations would come to power before the coming of the Messiah. History tells us that that is precisely what happened. The first nation was the Babylonians and Nebuchadnezzar, followed by the Medo-Persian Empire, followed by Alexander the Great and the Grecian Empire, followed by the Roman Empire. Someone has taken the time to figure the odds of such a prophecy coming true. The chances of placing these four nations in the right place at the right time, and telling about their destruction is 1 in 2 Quintillion (that’s 1 in 2 000 000 000 000 000 000 (18 0’s).Or to put it in terms that we can understand, cover the entire state of Texas with 1/2 dollars 38 feet deep, color one of them black, and fly over the state and drop the black one. The chances of coming up with the black one would be the same odds that the prophecy in Daniel would be fulfilled. These things cannot be explained by man’s wisdom – only God could be the author of such knowledge. We can therefore trust in God’s Word, knowing where it came from.THE SCRIPTURE IS ALSO PROFITABLE. As 2 Tim. 3:16 says it is profitable for teaching. Teaching is the Greek word “doctrine.” When you compare all the doctrines in the world today, we would be at a loss to find the truth. Which one is the right one?Which denomination is the right one? Is there a right one? God’s word is profitable for teaching, so there must be a right teaching. Paul referred to this in 1 Cor. 4:17:“For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in theLord, and he will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, just as I teach everywherein every church.” God has a standard. One teaching. Can you imagine what he thinks of all the different teachings today?SCRIPTURE IS PROFITABLE FOR REPROOF. (Read James 1:22ff) – Scripture should change our lives, if it does not there is something wrong with us.SCRIPTURE IS PROFITABLE FOR CORRECTION. For setting a person right. Maybe someone who does not understand their relationship to the Lord as well as they should.Like Aquilla and Priscilla setting Apollos straight. It can also mean corrective discipline.FOR TRAINING IN RIGHTEOUSNESS.Titus 2:11 – 12 “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,”Sin blinds our eyes and we can’t see unless we study God’s Word. Isaiah 5:20 tells us ISA 5:20 “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” The influence of such things as Television has effected us. The bad guys get away with murder and we cheer them on.THAT THE MAN OF GOD MAY BE ADEQUATE, EQUIPPED FOR EVERY GOOD WORK. Other versions say that the man of God may be “complete,” or “perfect.” We have all that we need right here in the Bible! How is this possible with an incomplete revelation? It would be impossible. . . but there are those today who say that we need further instruction from God.Jude 3 “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” 2 John 9 “Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.” 2Pet 1:3 “seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”The Word of God is sufficient for all things that our God requires of us. CONCLUSION: – So, what is the Value of God’s Word?? It is more valuable than anything you can buy on earth. Jesus said when he was tempted by Satan, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”(Matt. 4:4)Acts 20:32 tells us another value of God’s Word: “And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” Romans 1:16 tells us that the Word of God is the Power for Salvation.Romans 10:17 tells us where we must get our faith. It’s not a leap in the dark, it’s God’s Word directing us.Eph. 1:13 – tells us – “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation–having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,”JAM 1:21 “Therefore putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.”1PE 1:22 “Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, 23 for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding word of God.”God’s Word is alive. It brings salvation to those who are obedient to it. Let us resolve to appreciate God’s Word more, and show that appreciation by study, not just superficial study, but diligent study of the Scriptures.There are 929 chapters in the Old Testament.There are 260 chapters in the New Testament.If you read 3 chapters a day. . . you can read the entire Bible in one year.If you read 6 chapters a day. . . you can read the entire Bible in six months.Part 5: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSIONThe NIV was translated by a committee of 100 conservative scholars from five English-speaking countries representing 10 different churches. The New Testament was published in 1973. I would consider this to be a “Dynamic Equivalent” as opposed to a “Word-for-Word” translation. The NIV has attempted to provide a translation which could be accepted and understood by the whole English speaking world. It is not slanted toward one country’s English more than another’s, is basically accurate, and very clear. The NIV took great pains in translating Greek verb tenses clearly. It is without question, one of the most popular versions of the Bible today. There are some weaknesses. Because it is a “Dynamic Equivalent” it tends to “paraphrase” a number of passages. This leaves out words the Lord gave us by inspiration in an attempt to make the passage more easily understood. While this may seem like a good idea, it at times misses the point of the original.For example, in Matthew 13:33 the NIV has the woman “mixing” yeast rather than “hiding” it, which misses the point of Jesus’s parable. In the Romans 7:18ff the expression “sinful nature” has been used to replace the Greek term “flesh.” But in Romans 8:6 a different word is used for the same Greek word. Greek words are not consistently rendered by the same English words, even when they mean the same thing.The NIV also leans heavily toward the doctrine of Premillennialism.NEW ENGLISH BIBLEThe NEB was translated in 1961, with a complete revision being completed in 1970. It, like the NIV is considered a “Dynamic Equivalent” as opposed to a “Word-for-Word” translation. It was translated with the British English speaking world in mind. For example, in Matthew 20:31 – “the people rounded on them” which means “the people rebuked them.” In Mark 12:15 we have “trying to catch me out” which means “why make trial of me?”In certain passages there is almost total disregard for the words in the manuscripts. are no italics used to show the MANY words added by the translators. “Whitsuntide”is used in place of Pentecost in 1 Corinthians 16:8; “Saturday Night” is used in place of “the first day of the week” in Acts 20:7 even though the exact same Greek words are translated “Sunday” in Matthew 28:1 and 1 Cor. 16:2. “Once upon a time” is the way Genesis 11:1 begins, which is not found in the original Hebrew, and encourages people to believe the first eleven chapters of Genesis are mere folklore as many already teach.In 1 Cor. 14:5,6, and 19 the Greek word for tongues is translated “ecstatic utterances” leading to a false concept. In 2 Tim. 3:16 the NEB omits the Greek word for “God” when talking about “every inspired Scripture” and this tends to support the false idea that the Bible was “inspired” like Shakespeare or other literary great might have been “inspired” when he wrote.Hebrews 1:1 begins with “He spoke in fragmentary and varied fashion,” implying that God’s word came to us in fragments and was put together by scribes as they collected the fragments over the centuries.In Matthew 16:18 the NEB is translated “you are Peter, the rock, and on this rock, I will build my church.” The Greek does not read that way AT ALL. The phrase “the rock” after Peter’s name has been supplied, apparently in an attempt to gain a wider acceptance among Roman Catholic readers.Mary is a “girl” not a virgin in Luke 1:27; Matt. 1:23, even though this particular Greek word can only mean “virgin.”In 1 Peter 2:24 the NEB says that Jesus “carried our sins to the gallows.” This was a revelation to me! We should never place our trust in a so-called translation that takes this kind of freedom with God’s word.Part 6: P A R A P H R A S E D V E R S I O N SThere are also a number of Paraphrased versions which are very popular. Paraphrase versions are not really “translations” as much as they are “commentaries” on what the translator “thinks” is being said in a certain passage. A “Dynamic Equivalent” attempts to used the original language as a guide in translating, and then “elaborates” to enhance understanding A“Word-for-Word” translation attempts to add the fewest number of additional words to the translation, and when they do, the generally place the added words in italics. A “Paraphrase” simply attempts to put the meaning of the text into modern day English, sometimes with little regard to the actual context of the original passage, which can be a very dangerous concept. If you want to study the Bible, one should attempt to get as close to the original as possible. If you want a commentary on the Bible, a “Paraphrase” version may be of some assistance.THE PHILLIPS’ TRANSLATIONThe Phillips’ translation is one of the older “Paraphrase” versions around which was translated by one man, J.B. Phillips. He was a relatively conservative translator, and for a number of years his paraphrase was considered the best available. It’s greatest weakness is that it is a one man version of the Bible.TODAY’S ENGLISH VERSION (AKA) GOOD NEWS FOR MODERN MANThe TEV was first translated in 1966. There quickly followed revisions in 1967 and 1971. It was translated by a man named Mr. Bratcher. I understand he had some assistance with his paraphrase, but it is mostly his work. It has become extremely popular because it is a very simple translation, and it gained wide distribution through the American Bible Society. It uses a very limited vocabulary as it basis. It was written so a child could understand it. It is very week in it’s ability to convey the depth of meaning found in both the Greek and Hebrew because of the limited vocabulary it uses. When you are trying to convey the mind of God to man, you cannot do it with only a few basic words without losing many important ideas God has taught in the original.In Acts 20:7 the TEV has “Saturday Night” when the Greek text clearly talks about “the first day of the week, or Sunday.” This is clearly an interpretation, not a translation. In many places the TEV omits the word “blood” or changes its meaning. Mr. Bratcher apparently believed the word “blood” was offensive to our 20th century American readers.In Acts 8:20 Peter says to Simon the Sorcerer “you perish with your money,” but Mr. Bratcher has the phrase, “go to Hell,” which is a slang phraseology not usually found inthe mouth of Christians.In Acts 2:38 the TEV has “turn away from your sins.” That is not what the Greek says. It say, “Repent.” Turning comes after repentance. Repentance is a change of mind that leads to a turning away. The TEV or Good News for Modern Man cannot be used by the serious Bible student who realizes the importance of the words of the Lord.THE LIVING BIBLEThe Living Bible (or Reach-Out New Testament, Living Prophets, the Living Psalms, Living Letters, etc., are all from the Living Bible Paraphrased) translated by one man, Kenneth Taylor. This has been the number one best selling Paraphrase until very recently. It is clear, and easy to understand. There is no mistaking what Kenneth Taylor is trying to say. If he always translated what God was trying to say, it would have been a good effort. In many places this paraphrase this is actually a decent commentary of the passage under consideration, but make no mistake about it, it is not even remotely related to a translation. This is simply one man’s “opinion” of what he thinks God’s word says.Mr. Taylor was clearly a Premillennialists. In Isaiah 2:3 he says “the world will be ruled form Jerusalem.” The Word of God says, “For the law will go forth from Zion And theword of the LORD from Jerusalem.” This was fulfilled by Jesus and the apostles and prophets of the first century.In Mark 1:4 Mr. Taylor says “baptism is a public announcement of your decision to turn your back on sin.” The Word of God says “John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”In 1 Peter 3:21 Mr. Taylor says “in baptism we show that we have been saved from death.” This is such a terrible injustice to the text that Mr. Taylor puts a footnote to state more accurately what the Greek actually says. Baptism is for the purpose of salvation and to change such a phrase as that can cause many to misunderstand God’s word about so important a doctrine.In 1 Corinthians 6:12 Mr. Taylor says “I can do anything I want to if Christ has not said no.” This is another indication of the prejudice with which Mr. Taylor approaches the Bible. The Word of God says:2 John 9“Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.” To be fair to Mr. Taylor, he does tell you in his introduction that any place in which it is difficult to make a decision as to what the particular Greek or Hebrew words really mean, he goes by his own beliefs. You should know when you read the Living Bible Paraphrase that you are reading only one man’s opinion of what God’s Word actually says, and in some very significant passages Mr. Taylor is 100% WRONG!THE MESSAGE“The Message” or “The New Testament In Contemporary English,” was translated by Eugene H. Peterson in 1993. In my opinion, this is the best “one-man” Paraphrase available today. Mr. Peterson says in his introduction:“This version of the New Testament in a contemporary idiom keeps the language of the Message current and fresh and understandable in the same language in which we do our shopping, talk with our friends, worry about our affairs, and teach our children their table manners. The goal is not to render a word-for-word conversion of Greek into English, but rather to convey the tone, the rhythm, the events, the ideas, into the way we actually think and speak.”My view is that Mr. Peterson has done a remarkably good job of achieving his goal with a minimal of glaring errors. But remember, this is a “commentary” not a translation. Someone may say, after all of this, what’s the BIG DEAL? The big deal is that Satan is working today, just as he did in the Garden of Eden. In the Garden he changed God’s word with just the insertion of one little word, “In that day that you eat of it you will not surely die.”We have versions today that add more than just one word that change the meaning of God’s word and the same effect comes to those who would believe a lie. We will be condemned if we believe and practice false doctrines, even though we might do it sincerely. There are going to be those in hell who are sincerely wrong. We must be careful to use a translation that will assist us in understanding exactly what God has revealed!
↑ Return to FAQ’s